- October 15 2015
Museums You Must Visit in Ueno, the “It” Sightseeing Spot of Tokyo
Ueno is one of the busiest sightseeing spots in Tokyo. When you think of the name, you might think of the famous Ameyoko (a huge shopping arcade with lots of stores), Ueno Zoological Gardens and Ueno Park, but there’s a lot more to this city. You will find Tokyo’s main national museums and art museums at Ueno Park.
Today we are introducing three museums you must visit if you’re in Ueno: Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, and the National Museum of Western Art.
Let’s start with the center of Ueno! - Ueno Park
The three museums we are visiting today are all built around the fountain. This huge fountain is a symbol of Ueno Park!
Japan’s oldest museum: Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo National Museum was built in 1872, which makes it the oldest museum in Japan. They have 115,653 pieces in their collection, including 87 national treasures and 633 Impornatnt Cultural Properties designated by the national government. It is an enormous museum filled with valuable treasures.
The museum is divided into five different buildings including the main building, and each has its own exhibition.
This is the grand staircase of the main building. The theme of the building is “The Flow of Japanese Art.” There are many rare pieces on display, from traditional Japanese art to modern art as well as cultural artifacts and historical documents.
In the back of the main building, you will find a traditional Japanese garden with a pond!
If you’re interested in Japanese art or culture, you can’t miss Tokyo National Museum. Going through all five buildings takes a whole day, so just visit the main building if you’re short on time.
Learn natural sciecne at national Museum of Nature and Science
Next is the National Museum of Nature and Science!
As the museum’s name suggests, it features nature and science exhibits from Japan. If you have kids, they’ll love it for sure. There are many realistic stuffed animals being exhibited.
The museum’s landmark is this life-size blue whale model!
One unique thing about this museum is their dome theater, with a screen on the ceiling that lets you view video in 360 degrees. You can enjoy pictures of the universe, earth, life, crust, and dinosaurs.
A special exhibition at the right side is popular among local Japanese people. It is not rare to see a line during weekends. Please check their official website before you go since the exhibitions change quite often.
Le Corbusier style National Museum of Western Art
With a different look from other Japanese art museums, the National Museum of Western Art features Western art exhibitions.
The main collection of this museum is made up of impressionist pictures and sculptures from the 19th century and the early 20th century. They were collected by Kojiro Matsukata, a famous businessman before the war. Matsuoka’s collections were originally seized by the French government as enemy property after WW2. One condition that the French government had when they returned the collection was to build this National Museum of Western Art to house the collection.
The famous Le Corbusier designed buildings are eye catching.
Their exhibition includes famous works like Monet’s “Water Lilies,” Rodan’s “Gates of Hell” and “The Thinker.”
Actually this was the first building in Japan built using seismically isolated structures. These safety features are important, not only for the visitors but for preserving the precious works forever. You can view more information about the seismically isolated structure inside the museum.
That concludes our introdcution to these three important museums!
As you can see, it is easy to get to them from the Ueno Station, so please give them a visit.